Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

J. Kevin Thompson

Keywords

body image, depression, eating disorder, motherhood, postpartum, weight

Abstract

Body image, eating disturbance, and depressive symptomatology have been examined extensively in the general population. The assessment of these variables within the postpartum period has also been a target of recent research. Unfortunately, no existing studies have examined the intercorrelations among these factors in mothers of young children, despite increasing media pressure for moms to maintain a slim, pre-pregnancy body. The current study examined predictors of body dissatisfaction, eating disturbance, and depressive symptoms in mothers of children aged 0-5. Simple correlations were followed by a series of linear multiple regressions incorporating sociocultural predictors alongside covariates identified in the extant literature. Findings suggest that sociocultural factors are significantly related to body image, eating disturbance, and depressive symptomatology in the mothers sampled, and BMI, perceived stress, and current exercise status accounted for significant variance in study outcomes. Limitations, implications and significance are addressed in turn.

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